At least one dead after powerful earthquake hits Mexico on ‘cursed’ anniversary

At least one dead after powerful earthquake hits Mexico on 'cursed' anniversary
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MEXICO CITY, Sept 19 (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake struck western Mexico on Monday on the anniversary of two devastating earthquakes, killing at least one person, damaging buildings, cutting power and sending Mexico City residents scrambling for safety.

One person was killed when the roof of a store collapsed on them in the Pacific port of Manzanillo, the government said. Authorities also reported damage to several hospitals in western Michoacán state, near the epicenter of the quake, which is located in a sparsely populated region of Mexico. According to the government, one person was injured when a glass fell at one of the hospitals.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck at 1:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) off the west coast and near the border of Colima state and Michoacán, where Manzanillo is located.

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The earthquake was relatively shallow, only 15 km (9 mi) deep, which would have amplified its impact.

Reuters graphics

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for parts of the Mexican coast, saying waves reaching 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet) above tide level were possible.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said there were no immediate reports of major damage in the capital after the aftershocks hit Mexico on the same day as devastating earthquakes in 1985 and 2017.

“It’s like a race,” Jesus Montes, a 34-year-old graphic designer in the downtown Rome neighborhood, said of the quake’s timing as helicopters flew over the city.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country, said that there is no scientific explanation for the three large earthquakes that occurred on the same day and attributed it to mere coincidence.

But others could not quite believe it.

“It’s this date. There’s something about the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanzetta, a business owner in the city’s Cuauhtemoc neighborhood. “The 19th is a scary day.”

Thousands of people were killed in September. An earthquake occurred on September 19, 1985 and more than 350 people lost their lives. 19, 2017 earthquake.

Many Mexicans reacted to the recent earthquake by posting a series of memes online expressing their amazement. read more

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said there was damage near the epicenter of the earthquake before first announcing the death in Manzanillo. The images spread on social networks show seriously damaged buildings.

Mexican officials said the seismic warning sounded about two minutes before the quake, giving residents time to evacuate their homes.

Still, some people in the capital struggled to understand that it was a real earthquake, as the government had sounded the alarm earlier that day as an exercise to remember past earthquakes.


In Coalcoman, Michoacán, not far from the epicenter, pictures show houses cracked by the force of the earthquake and rubble showing cracked building walls. In one store, merchandise was strewn across the floor.

Power was cut in parts of Rome, Mexico City, about 400 km (250 miles) from the epicenter. The National Energy Service said the outages affected 1.2 million customers.

Residents of Rome stood in the streets hugging their pets, while guided tourists to the local market were visibly confused and nervous. Traffic lights stopped working and people clutched their phones, sending text messages or waiting for calls to come through.

Clara Ferri, the owner of an Italian bookstore in Rome, told a customer to get out as soon as she heard the windows rattle, her senses attuned to the sounds of earthquakes, which began after 16 years in the place.

“It was like a dentist’s training for me,” he said.

The screams grew louder, and as Ferry gathered with his neighbors at the intersection, he looked up to see the eight-story building that housed his store swaying from side to side.

When he returned, the shelves fell like dominoes, sending more than 1,000 books tumbling to the floor.

Officials pulled a rope from the sidewalk, which was littered with masonry that appeared to have fallen from the building. Residents came out with pets and suitcases, preparing to spend the night elsewhere, and one woman carefully escorted her 89-year-old uncle in his blue-and-white striped pajamas.

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Additional reporting by Isabel Woodford, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Anthony Esposito, Raul Cortes and Mexico City Newsroom; Written by Dave Graham; Edited by Stephen Eisenhammer, Sandra Maler, and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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